A husband-and-wife from Birmingham turned their home into a terror training ground and talked of launching an attack on their wedding day.
Ummariyat Mirza, an ex-accountant, researched terror acts and bought a steel hunting blade and a rubber training knife, which he used to practice on a dummy at their home.
His wife, Madihah Taheer, allowed him to buy a knife using her bank details and reportedly fantasised about beheading newspaper columnist and radio presenter Katie Hopkins.
The pair planned to carry out an attack in the UK and had looked at potential targets, including military sites in the Midlands, according to police.
The couple were further assisted by Mirza’s sister, Zainub Mirza, who sent the couple an array of extremist material, including footage of a man holding two severed heads.
The siblings were arrested by armed counter-terror police on March 29th.
The force stopped their Ford Fiesta on Alum Rock Road during the evening rush-hour amid fears their plans were “escalating quickly”.
Subsequently, Taheer was arrested on April 24th.
During searching of a number of addresses, police found a huge collection of pro-Islamic State material and social media exchanges between the three.
Amongst the findings were extremist propaganda videos, including graphic images of prisoners being tortured and executed.
Police also recovered a steel hunting knife with a paracord rope attached so it could be concealed under clothing and a body armour jacket.
In one exchange between the married couple, Mirza wrote, “The day of nikkah [wedding], I’ll kill ‘em all. Give me the list, the only thing that stops me is we are not married. I will defo, I’m not joking.”
21-year-old Ummariyat, of St Agathas Road, and his sister Zainub, 23, of Eastfield Road, admitted terror offences on the first day of a trial at Woolwich Crown Court in London on October 9th.
On Thursday, Taheer, also aged 21, was found guilty of supporting her husband in his planning.
Det Chief Supt Matt Ward, head of West Midlands Counter Terrorist Unit, said: “Ummariyat Mirza’s plan was escalating quickly so the decision to carry out arrests in a busy Birmingham street at rush hour was not taken lightly.
“The planning had begun in 2015 but quickly gathered momentum in terms of the volume and especially the nature of the shared material with the majority of videos shared by Zainub Mirza to her brother.
“The constant stream of material and supportive comments sent were, we believed, to encourage Ummariyat Mirza to begin acts of preparation for terrorism.
“When Ummariyat Mirza and his sister were arrested, mobile phones were found in the car and at their respective addresses, as well as at other family addresses.
“Their devices were examined, and a significant quantity of relevant mind-set material was found on them.
“The communications between Ummariyat Mirza and his sister revealed they shared extremist material and praised killings carried out by Daesh.
“It is thought Mirza and his wife, encouraged by Zainub, were planning to carry out an attack in the UK, it is not known where this attack would have been, but we discovered research into potential targets, including military sites in the area.”
They are due to be sentenced on December 1st.